Knot Works is a creative cultural organisation run by three friends – Holly Jean Crosbie, Samuel Wheeler and Edward Liddle – and based in Southborough. Here, the trio tell Eileen Leahy more about their creative venture which launched in the summer of 2021…
So guys, let’s start with you telling us in essence what Knot Works is all about?
It is a creative cultural organisation run by us three friends: Holly Jean Crosbie, Samuel Wheeler and Edward Liddle. We host workshops run by artists, including drawing, pottery, sewing and printmaking. We programme exhibtions featuring contemporary artists and makers whose work we believe should be seen and experienced by a wider audience. We currently also host two resident artists at our Knot Works studio, which is based in Southborough, as part of our ambition to support and nurture artists in their professional development.
When did it launch and how are things going so far?
We launched in the Summer of 2021 and hosted our first series of workshops using Ed’s art studio in Southborough as our base. We wanted people to be able to experience workshops with professional artists, learning from and being inspired by their expertise. At the same time we launched Knot Works with an inaugural exhibition which featured works from our own network of local artist and design collaborators.
A year later we were so pleased to find our current permanent premises in Southborough, at 64 London Road.
The response to opening our space in Southborough has been really positive. We’ve already run pottery studio evenings and life-drawing classes as well as an exhibition of photography by Kate Sims. It’s been wonderful to welcome people to the space to make things together and to platform the work of artists, whether that’s through exhibitions or workshops.
What kinds of offerings do you provide apart from exhibitions?
Our vision for Knot Works is ambitious, and this is just the start. Alongside our programme of exhibitions, workshops and studio time at our space, we also regularly host what we call ‘Work in Progress’ evenings. These take place at our space at 64 London Road and form an important part of what we want to develop at Knot Works. Professional development for those working or hoping to work in the cultural industries can be really hard and expensive at times. The free ‘Work in Progress’ evenings are a chance for people to bring along something that they are working on to get some feedback from other creative people. When we all graduated from art school we really missed the nurturing environment that they create, so the ‘Work in Progress’ evenings are a way in which we are trying to nurture artists, makers and creatives who are looking for a supportive network to help them develop their work.
As Knot Works boasts a ‘shop front’ do you receive a lot of impromptu visitors?
We are so excited about being located here. We’ve had some great conversations with people who have been passing by and who have been intrigued to hear about what we’re up to and what plans we have for the future. Our high streets change, they need a variety of people doing different things. Some days Holly uses the front space of the building to cut and sew clothing. At other times there is pottery being made and at others there’ll be an exhibtion. Knot Works is a lively and ever-changing space, so there’s always something different to see.
What are the benefits of running this project as a trio?
Together we draw on each of our personal experiences and run the organisation collaboratively. We often change roles and at various times and can all be found putting together an exhibition, or prepping for an upcoming workshop as well as teaching workshops.
We each have other jobs that we maintain alongside running Knot Works. Holly is an architect and runs her own architecture and attire practice as well as teaching Architecture at the University of Brighton and London Metropolitan University. Sam is an architect and is currently working on several large-scale projects in London. While Ed works at The Amelia as their Exhibitions Officer and continues to make his own artwork.
How do you juggle your day jobs with running Knot Works?
We’re all quite busy, but all of our other work feeds directly into Knot Works. Cultural activity is very much like an eco-system with lots of different influences feeding into and supporting one another. We’re all really enjoy working on our various projects and believe it helps to shape and inform our work at Knot Works.
What exhibitions and workshops do you have coming up in the near future?
Excitingly we have just launched our autumn programme of workshops. Our very popular life drawing evenings ‘Nudey Tuesdays’ will be returning alongside our pottery studio evenings. The pottery studio evenings are great for anyone with some experience of making pottery, as they offer access to our pottery studio and equipment.
For those with no prior experience of pottery we also have upcoming ‘master class’ workshops which offer the opportunity to get in depth tuition about a particular pottery technique (such as coil building or slab building). These are a great introduction and are taught by Jean Crosbie who has over 25 years of ceramic experience.
What will be your next show?
Our next exhibition will be in November and will focus on ceramics, featuring the work of Jean Crosbie and Holly Crosbie. We’ve also got a winter pop-up shop that will take place in the run-up to Christmas and will feature a selection of objects chosen by us which will make wonderful Christmas gifts.
And if people want to find out more about Knot Works what should they do?
We’ve got lots of exciting things planned for the future and we would encourage everyone to sign up to our Knot Works mailing list (You can find this at the bottom of the page on our website at knotworks.co.uk).
Our Instagram feed is also full of pictures of past workshops and exhibitions so please follow us to see what you could get involved with and to be the first to know about new events and announcements! @knotworks_